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10 June 2009
An innovative University project addressing the difficulties of providing opportunities for medical students to observe live surgery has been recognised at the inaugural Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards.
The Global University Project, run by the School of Medicine’s Department of Dermatology, won the Outstanding ICT Initiative category for its use of cutting-edge technology to benefit students around the world.
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The physical constraints of operating theatres means that medical students and trainee doctors have limited opportunities to observe live surgery. In response to this, phase one of the Global University Project saw the installation of a high-definition video link from a dermatology operating theatre to a seminar room in the same building.
Sessions are moderated by a lecturer so that students in the seminar room can view procedures and also communicate with the surgeon via a two-way microphone link.
Following on from this initial success, webcasting software was integrated into the system to enable the department to broadcast dermatological surgical procedures to an international audience via the internet. Video can be streamed live as well as being recorded for later access.
Vice-Chancellor Dr David Grant said: "I congratulate the Department of Dermatology on their success at the Times Higher Education Leadership & Management Awards. The Global University Project makes a significant contribution towards improving surgical teaching in medical schools. It also allows students and doctors around the world to benefit from Cardiff expertise."
Dr Maria Gonzalez, the Dermatology Postgraduate Course Director and Reader in Dermatology, said: "I am extremely pleased that our team has received this award. One of the main benefits of our system is that learners are able to view specialised dermatological surgery performed in a Centre of Excellence. If similar benefits were to be seen in other universities, this type of system has the power to revolutionise how surgery is taught. The potential for knowledge transfer is immeasurable."
Ann Mroz, editor of Times Higher Education, said of the winning entry: "Cardiff University overcame the obstacles to providing trainee doctors with the chance to view live surgery with a superb initiative that demonstrated the practical power of ICT. The next generation of doctors are bound to benefit from its use of high-definition video links to give students a ringside seat in the operating theatre, and for that it should be applauded."
Cardiff was the only Welsh university to take home an award at a gala dinner in celebration of leadership and management talent in higher education.
Giving all learners equal access to surgical sessions, the Global University Project removes the lottery element for students and registrars across Wales, who all previously had to compete for limited opportunities to attend operations in person. The technology has the potential to reach an infinite audience where there is access to a high speed broadband connection.
The team currently broadcasts to undergraduate students on placement, registrars, distance-learning postgraduate doctors, and members of the department’s web-based Continuing Professional Development Society based in more than 30 countries.
The Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards ceremony took place at the London Hilton Hotel, hosted by comedian and impressionist Rory Bremner. The Outstanding ICT Initiative category was sponsored by the Joint Information Systems Committee
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